Eleven drug deaths put county in top five

Even with Jackson County overdoses declining from 2012, last year's tally ranked county fifth in Oregon

Eleven people died of drug overdoses in Jackson County in 2013, down from 19 the previous year, but still enough to put the county in the top five statewide for drug-related deaths, a report from the state medical examiner shows.

The number of drug deaths was the second highest in the county since 2002, the report said.

The agency's findings, released Thursday, show seven deaths were heroin-related, five deaths were linked to methamphetamine and two deaths involved a combination of substances. The number of heroin deaths was the fourth highest in the state.

Nearby Josephine County saw four drug deaths, with three tied to methamphetamine and one to heroin. Klamath County had two, both related to methamphetamine.

Only Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington, and Lane counties recorded more drug-related deaths in 2013 than Jackson County.

Statewide, there were 222 drug-related deaths, nearly unchanged from the 223 reported in 2012. Of that number, 123 were methamphetamine-related, a 32 percent boost from the 93 in 2012, and the most recorded since 2000.

"More than 55 percent of all drug-related deaths were associated with methamphetamine use," a release from the state medical examiner said.

There were 111 heroin-related deaths in Oregon, a dip of 25 percent from 2012's reported 147. For 2013, 65 heroin-related deaths occurred in Multnomah County.

Statewide, cocaine-related deaths were at their lowest in the 13-year period covered by the report with 12 reported. That's a 36 percent dip from 2012's 19. Only Multnomah, Lincoln, Malheur and Yamhill counties reported cocaine-related deaths. All other counties had none.

The medical examiner's office said there were 150 deaths related to methadone, oxycodone and hydrocodone overdoses in Oregon, with 58, 60 and 32 deaths reported respectively. Methadone and oxycodone deaths dropped from the respective 78 and 66 reported in 2012, with hydrocodone deaths increasing from 26 in 2012.

Deaths from those prescription drugs weren't broken down by county in the state report.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ryanpfeil.


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